The Sony Xperia L3 is Sony’s budget mobile offering for 2019 which brings a friendly design and good performance for a budget market.
The design of the Xperia L3 looks very nice and is part of Sony’s design refresh. It does lack some design features such as a notch and edge-to-edge display, but it isn’t a bad design by any means.
looks very nice and is part of Sony’s design refresh. It does lack some design features such as a notch and edge-to-edge display, but it isn’t a bad design by any means.
The front of the device is glass with the back and sides of the device in a glossy plastic finish, which give it a premium feel – despite the inexpensive price tag. The back of the device does get quite a lot of fingerprints on it, but it is easy to clean.
On the front of the device, you can find the 5.7” display as well as the front facing camera, sensors and notification LED. Not many phone manufacturers seem to be keeping the notification LED on their devices anymore, so if that’s something that you quite like – this phone is great for you.
The sides of the device are plain with all the buttons and the fingerprint sensor on the right-hand side. I think that the placement of the volume buttons is quite bad as, since this isn’t a large phone by today’s standards, the buttons can be quite hard to get to at times as they’re below where my thumb would rest.
The fingerprint sensor placement is ideal as that is where my thumb naturally rests on the side of the phone and it will unlock automatically from sleep when it registers my fingerprint.
The left-hand side houses your SIM and microSD card slot, the microSD card slot will come in quite useful as the Xperia L3 only has 32GB storage so that slot will give you up to an extra 512GB storage.
On the bottom, you can find the USB-C port and speaker and a headphone jack can be found on the top of the device, it’s quite nice to find a headphone jack on a phone in 2019 and I’d still, at least, consider them essential on budget-friendly phones.
On the back of the device is the rear dual-camera array which I shall go into a bit more detail later in the review.
The display on the Xperia L3 is a rounded 720p IPS LCD display which looks great. Despite having a lower high-definition resolution, the pixel density of the display is still relatively high. The LCD display is still a very good quality as it provides fantastic contrast – I initially thought it was an OLED before checking the spec sheet.
The display looks crisp and gives a nice vivid viewing experience with great viewing angles. It manages to get quite bright if you need it to, which makes it good to use outdoors and it also manages to get dim enough to use comfortably at night. For some reason, automatic brightness isn’t on by default, so I had to turn that on myself.
The software experience on the Xperia L3 is very nice, there are no drastic changes from stock Android, so it has a familiar and easy to use interface. There are a few differences here and there but, as I said, nothing drastically different.
There were a few pre-installed applications on the device from AVG Antivirus and Facebook. As well as some from Sony such as Xperia lounge and the PlayStation app.
One of my main issues with the software experience on the Xperia L3 is that it ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, which is greatly outdated for a phone released in 2019. Especially since Android 10 Q is just around the corner.
The Xperia L3 is snappy and I personally haven’t experienced any slow-downs or stutters using the device. The device is powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 chip with an octa-core processor which ensures there is plenty of processing power for multiple tasks.
The device can quickly load apps and switch between them with multitasking. Games also manage to perform well, despite the inexpensive price-tag.
The phone has a good range of connectivity options including Bluetooth 5.0 and built-in NFC which will allow you to make contactless card payments using your phone. The phone has good Wi-Fi connectivity, but unfortunately, it doesn’t support AC Wi-Fi for those blazing fast speeds.
The speaker on the bottom of the device is okay, but the quality that comes out from it is nothing special as it sounds quite tinny. If you’re planning to listen to music without headphones, you’ll probably want to use a Bluetooth speaker. Luckily if you do need to use the speaker, you don’t need to worry about accidentally covering it up as it manages to stay loud even when covered.
The fingerprint sensor on the side of the Xperia L3 also works well, it can quickly read my fingerprint and it is in an ideal position, so it is easy to use without straining my hand to unlock the device.
The camera on the Xperia L3 is okay, it uses a 13-megapixel sensor with a 2-megapixel depth sensor on the back of the phone.
I’m not particularly blown away with the images that come out of the phone. Even though the images are sharp and a high resolution, it struggled quite a lot with the dynamic range of taking landscape photos and exposing the image – so either the sky is blown out or the ground is too dark.
This is quite a shame, as when it gets the exposure right – the photographs look great. The images are detailed, sharp and a high resolution.
The camera app is simplistic as it has a couple of shooting modes, portrait selfie and bokeh – which aren’t that impressive or accurate.
The device can also shoot 1080p video at 30-fps, it lacks image stabilisation so the footage can get a little shaky if you’re moving around. Otherwise, the footage is pretty good, but it does carry some of my issues with the camera regarding exposure.
The quality of the front facing camera is decent and manages to handle most lighting conditions fairly well, although it isn’t the sharpest as some images look a little soft.
The Xperia L3 has quite a large battery, coming in at 3,300 mAh. The battery lasts all day on typical usage – which is browsing on some social media apps, listening to some music and sometimes watching some videos.
The device supports fast charging so you can quickly charge up the phone, but it does lack wireless charging.
In conclusion I think the Xperia L3 is a decent cheap smartphone. My experience with it has been very good and I’d highly recommend it. Yes, the camera isn’t fantastic, but this is an extremely inexpensive phone so if you’re not particularly worried about mobile photography it isn’t a huge deal breaker.
If you don’t have a lot to spend as it is currently less than £200 priced at £169 so it is a great choice for a smartphone on a low budget.